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Developing virtual field experiences for undergraduates with high-resolution panoramas (GigaPans) at multiple scales

By
Jennifer L. Piatek
Jennifer L. Piatek
Department of Physics and Earth Science, Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, Connecticut 06053, USA
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Candace L. Kairies Beatty
Candace L. Kairies Beatty
Department of Geoscience, Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota 55987, USA
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William L. Beatty
William L. Beatty
Department of Geoscience, Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota 55987, USA
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Michael C. Wizevich
Michael C. Wizevich
Department of Physics and Earth Science, Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, Connecticut 06053, USA
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Alex Steullet
Alex Steullet
Department of Physics and Earth Science, Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, Connecticut 06053, USA
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Published:
October 01, 2012

Field experiences are the cornerstone of a successful geoscience education, but these activities can be difficult (if not impossible) to include in many geoscience courses due to practical concerns. Virtual field exercises, presented through a series of high-resolution zoomable panoramas created with a GigaPan® robotic camera mount and associated software, allow students to gain experience interpreting outcrops and landscapes when physical travel to a site is not feasible. Exercises incorporating GigaPan panoramas have been developed for a number of undergraduate courses at different levels within the geoscience curriculum. Students in introductory-level courses are presented with exercises that explore local geology and illustrate basic concepts such as faulting and cross-bedding. Exercises for intermediate-level courses include analysis of geomorphic features in relation to bedrock type, the influence of landforms on historical events, and interpretation of shear stress orientations and magnitudes from small-scale structural features in outcrop. More advanced exercises, utilizing multiple-tier panoramas that range from outcrop to thin-section scales, have been developed from existing field research projects. These examples represent the initial effort to develop an extensive catalog of interactive self-paced exercises that will be incorporated into classes across the geoscience curriculum.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Google Earth and Virtual Visualizations in Geoscience Education and Research

Steven J. Whitmeyer
Steven J. Whitmeyer
Department of Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, Memorial Hall, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807, USA
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John E. Bailey
John E. Bailey
Scenarios Network for Alaska & Arctic Planning, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709, USA
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Declan G. De Paor
Declan G. De Paor
Department of Physics, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia 23529, USA
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Tina Ornduff
Tina Ornduff
Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View, California 94043, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
492
ISBN print:
9780813724928
Publication date:
October 01, 2012

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